FRENCH luxury fashion house Kenzo takes fashion up a notch with an original film inspired by its spring/summer 2018 collection.
Titled Yo! My Saint, the movie is an artistic endeavour incorporating music, film and fashion.
The project began with Kenzo creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s graphic, bold and daring collection, and their sartorial mediation on pioneering model Sayoko Yamaguchi and music icon Ryuichi Sakamoto.
“We always have a storyline that at least helps us to start the mood board for a collection. For this one in particular (the spring/summer collection), we talked about Sayoko being the historical muse and Ryuichi, who we love and are obsessed with, being our modern muse,” says Leon.
“We told that to Karen O (frontman of rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and she ended up writing a song about it. Then we were introduced to Ana Lily Amirpour who later directed the movie…”
Karen composed a profound narrative with Yo! My Saint (a song sung by UK singer Michael Kiwanuka) that builds to an arresting crescendo and fades into a lullaby coda.
Ana Lily is the award-winning director of Iranian vampire noir A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.
The movie features an all-Asian cast, including Alex Zhang Hungtai, Jessica Henwick and Kiko Mizuhara. Zhang acts as well as composes soundtracks for independent films.
Henwick is best known for her roles in the Marvel/Netflix series Iron Fist and hit HBO series Games Of Thrones.
Japan-based Kiko is an actress, model, singer and designer. A favourite of Karl Lagerfeld, she has more than 4.5 million followers and is one of the three most-followed people on social media in Japan.
“Working on this collection was a really proud moment for Carol and me. A lot of what we do at Kenzo goes back to growing up, being kids in the 80s and 90s and feeling like ‘Oh, remember when it was so not cool to be Asian… Carol has lots of stories about her parents packing kimchi for lunch, and her being so excited to eat it at school and her friends telling her ‘Hey, your breath really stinks!’” says Leon.
“And now it’s the trendiest thing to eat,” says Lim.
“(But) now we’re living in a time when we’re super embracing our heritage. I think that it’s perfect that we are celebrating the Japanese heritage of the Kenzo brand but also celebrating us all as Asians… I think it was exciting to just really embrace this collection in its purest form and working with Karen and Ana Lily to take the collection to the next level,” adds Leon.
Ana Lily says she was worried that the project would turn out like a typical advertising.
“I was worried because you don’t want to just be advertising clothes and everybody had to wear these clothes. But somehow it was so organically part of the story because it’s a story about a photographer taking pictures of people modelling things and so it was just seamless.
“I don’t think that every film would work that way, but it was just in the fibre of the storytelling and the clothes. Shirley Kurata, the stylist, was so great in putting it together with the locations and the vibe of each set-up. I’m very into colour palettes and how things look and pop. I just feel like the clothes look so good,” says Ana Lily.
Watch the movie on YouTube and get inspired.